Posts Categorised: Design/Interiors

Happy Christmas and thanks :)


My last post this side of Chrimbo !

Time to wind down and hang up my stocking…. are you all set ? Is anyone ever ?

In the meantime, I want to say a big thanks to my sponsors, all the wonderful people and companies that I have collaborated with and interviewed this year including:

Rocket Dog, Kitty Finegan, Janome, Fabric Rehab, Horrockses Fashions, Ditto Fabrics, Fabric Yard, Curtains Made Simple, ZPM Trolley Dolly, Seamstar, MiaFleur, Lekue, Irregular Choice, Beauvamp, Horace Panter, Zakee Shariff, This is Rude, Tatty Devine, Chie Mihara, welovekaoru, Jennie Maizels, Steve Neaves, Wilbur and Gussie, Retrosun, Romero Bryan, Paris ( Coldplays artist in residence ), Anna Lou of London, KissmeZombie, Melody Miller, Dolly Dagger, Serendipity Studio, Loaf, 2d Scrumptious, Bombus and Vowed and Amazed.

It’s been a busy one and I have enjoyed every minute of it ! The prizes have been top notch and very generous. The inspirational advice given by such amazing designers has been invaluable. I’ve got lots more lined up for early next year – and have some exciting news too :)

I hope you have enjoyed my own designs and projects this year ?

If you think you think we are a match made in heaven and are interested in sponsoring LucyLovesYa, running a product giveaway or requesting a product review in 2013 do get in touch. Would love to hear from you.

Wishing you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS…. and will update soon.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

Image courtesy and copyright of Mike Stimpson 2012

INSPIRE ME – with Horace Panter

Today, ‘Inspire Me’ is with Artist Horace Panter – whom you may well also know as Sir Horace Gentleman, bass player with Iconic Ska band The Specials.

Horace already had a Fine Art degree under his belt when he joined The band in 1977 and so it was just a matter of music, tours and an interesting teaching role, before he would produce his own icon inspired artwork. The first public exhibition of many took place in November 2011 with great response and there are plenty more to come.

News of a 2013 tour with The Specials is out, so all in all, next year is sounding good too.

I could’ve asked many questions to someone with such an interesting and varied life to date – but I managed to narrow them down and hope you enjoy …

You studied art before even joining the Specials – you had your first exhibition at the Strand in London only last year – what has the reaction to your work been so far ?

I think it has surprised people. There have been a lot of positive responses and Iʼve been taken a lot more seriously than I was expecting, you know, the ʻsemi – retired rock star with too much time on his handsʼ reaction, but itʼs been more like ʻwow, this guy can actually paint !ʼ

Do you think it’s important to study your craft at college or university, be it fine art or whatever you choose in life ?
If youʼre going to be a doctor or an architect, then yes ! I suppose it depends on what sort of artist/musician you would like to be. Francis Bacon, for example, never went to art school. It has helped me, I know that, by giving me a credibility I would not otherwise have had. Also, a grounding in Modern Art History has helped but you donʼt need to go to university to study that.

Has working as a musician developed you as an artist – and vice versa ?

Only in as much as it has enabled me to travel and visit art galleries and find inspiration from around the world. No, thatʼs not all, if I wasnʼt a professional musician with lots of ʻdown timeʼ I wouldnʼt have the excess of free time to paint. When Iʼm rehearsing in the studio or doing a gig, I have to fit into a team and concentrate on what works best for the group; when Iʼm painting, Iʼm solo, making all the decisions.

When you are painting do you like to surround yourself with solitude or paintings and music ?

Preparing boards and preliminary stuff I can listen to music, but I canʼt multitask very well; I could never do my homework in front of the TV so, when Iʼm painting, I like solitude.

Did you design The Specials logo ?

Not entirely. Jerry did the two-tone man and I did the 2 -Tone Records bit.

You were Head of Art at a school for autistic children for ten years – how did this come about and did any of the students work inspire you ?

I went into the special needs school as support for one specific pupil. As he settled back into the school, I was ʻabsorbedʼ into the staff and once it was discovered that I had an art degree  (the art teacher was really a PE teacher who took the job because no-one else wanted it … yes, school is like that! ), I was offered the job so a bit ʻunder the radarʼ really. It was a fantastic experience, especially dealing with children on the autistic spectrum. It made me change the way I viewed art – to make it more immediate.

Who and what are your biggest influences ? Is this ever evolving ?

Musically, most stuff on Tamla/Motown and Stax/Atlantic, Chicago Blues and Dub Reggae. Artwise, the list is longer – Henri Rousseau, (Sir) Peter Blake, Wayne Thiebaud, Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Robyn Denny, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein, James Rosenquist – mainly American 1960s artists, but they, the 60sʼ, were my formative years. Lately, I think Iʼm like the Borg out of Star Trek inasmuch as I accumulate everything and it becomes a source for work. I like the phrase ʻappropriation and subversionʼ!!

As a bass player and teacher you are in a supporting role – how does it feel to be the front man ?

The art career is my ʻsolo albumʼ. It is a different kind of creativity.

Are there certain galleries that you look forward to visiting when you’re on tour ?

Oh yes ! There is a probability we will be in New York towards the end of summer. I have never been to the new MOMART. The year before last, we were in Europe and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne was fantastic, as was The Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Is you work influenced by pop art ?  What do you love about it ?
To my way of thinking, Pop Art was to Art History what Punk Rock was to Rock and Roll. You had Abstract Expressionism, which was very elitist and metaphysical ( I love Rothko by the way ) and then along comes a guy with a soup can ! My work is heavily influences by traditional iconography and the word ʻmundaneʼ is used a lot in iconography as it is in Pop Art. ʻElevating the Mundaneʼ is one of the tropes of Pop Art and a lot of my work looks like Pop Art. Peter Blakeʼs technique and his use of colour are also big influences.

I love your cassette paintings, they really remind me of my treasured mix tapes  – if you were making up your ultimate mix tape of 30 minutes / 10 songs.. what would they be and why ?

1. Road Runner, Junior Walker and the All Stars

2. All Down the Line, Rolling Stones ( off Exile on Main Street ) !

3. Too Much Alcohol, J.B. Hutto and the Hawks

4. A Little Bit of Love, Free

5. Outta Space, Billy Preston

6. Dub Tree, Joe Gibbs ( from African Dub Chapter 3 )

7. Trampolene, The Spencer Davies Group ( worldʼs greatest B-Side )

8. PCH, ZZ Top ( great driving music )

9. China Girl, David Bowie ( with Stevie Ray Vaughan channelling Albert King )

10. Pour Me One More Drink, Robert Ward ( the Blues – for real )

What inspired you to write your book  – Ska’d for life ?

I had these two diaries from our US and Japanese tours and my parents had collected 11 scrap books full of Specials and Two-Tone related press. I was always the one that people were being directed to: ʻAsk Horace, he remembers stuff like thatʼ. There had been a couple of ʻfan-relatedʼ attempts at writing about the band but I thought they were far from accurate and no-one in the band had done it … so I did. Also, I twisted my ankle during the summer holidays and had fuck all else to do !!

Could you offer some words of advice for any aspiring artists and musicians reading this on how to fulfill their dreams ?

Self belief and persistence. Oh, and a good manager. Thatʼs A GOOD MANAGER!!

Do you have any exhibitions coming up ? .. and will The Specials be touring next year ? I will look forward to both..

By the time you publish this, The Specials May 2013 UK Tour Dates will have been announced. In 2012 I had 14 exhibitions – great fun but too much! In 2013 I am discussing exhibition dates in Liverpool and Glasgow in the early months and have one pencilled in for Number 9 Gallery in Birmingham for the summer. As soon as I have confirmation of any exhibitions the dates are published on Twitter and Facebook and also in the ʻHoracePanterArtʼ quarterly newsletter … all the logistics are handled by Clare, the woman I love !

A massive thanks to Horace ( and Clare ! ) …it is an honour to interview someone whom I have grown up listening to and loving their music, and now am very inspired by Horace’s artwork too.

You can see more of Horace’s work on his website – www.horacepanterart.com Follow him on Twitter @horacepanterart and you can become a fan facebook for info on upcoming exhibitions and shows.

All images copyright Horace Panter 2012.

Leave me a comment here to say hi or tweet me – @lucylovesyablog I’d love to hear from you :)

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Giveaway ! WIN this MiaFleur silk Floriography cushion worth £65 – CLOSED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new day and a super giveaway !

I’m rather taken with new online homes and interiors Boutique MiaFleur who are very generously offering up this 16″ x 16″ Floriography 100% silk cushion worth £65 as the prize. A very opulent treat for yourself – or a really thoughtful gift for someone lucky in your life, eh ?

The centre panel is machine embroidered with the words “Happiness is to hold flowers with both hands” … hence the name “Floriography” meaning the language of flowers ( I didn’t know that, did you ? ). MiaFleur love that flowers have their own language and can represent so many different things. The cushion has a beautiful raspberry red border with a cream centre panel. The filling is feathers, and it has a button back fastening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.miafleur.com launched recently to fill a gap in the market for truly indivdual homewares with a strong emphasis for items made in Britain. You can expect a quirky mix of handmade textiles, decorative mirrors and pictures, home accessories and gifts, reclaimed and vintage furniture and some incredibly weird and wonderful handmade ceramics.

Scouring the countries craft and design shows, hand selecting the very best in quirky interiors from British designer makers – MiaFleur have a penchant for eclectic styling and a desire to stand out from the crowd.

By the way.. this Tuesday 11th – MiaFleur have a pre – Christmas sale starting with some items marked down by up to 25 % ensuring everyone gets some great gifts at brilliant prices…

To get yourself entered for this giveaway there are just a few things to do.. and they are:

1. Make sure you are following @lucylovesyablog and @MiaFleur_home on Twitter

2. Sign up to the MiaFleur newsletter for special offers, latest products and a free gift with your next order. To do this – click here 

3. Tweet or facebook this quote:

I’ve entered the @lucylovesyablog giveaway to win a gorgeous @MiaFleur_home silk cushion worth £65 check it out ! www.lucylovesya.com 

4. Leave me a comment under this post to let me know you have done the above – and to validate your entry.

You’re done, dusted.. and entered !

T’s and C’s

The winner will be picked at random on Friday 14th December at 6pm – and notified by email.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only – more overseas giveaways coming soon !

Prize not redeemable for cash and no alternative prize offered.

P and P supplied by MiaFleur

One entry per person

Thanks for your entry… and good luck !

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with Zakee Shariff

Zakee-portrait-by-AL-Newman-copyThere’s nothing like artwork that makes you feel happy.

Having luckily discovered the artist and designer Zakee Shariff a little while ago during her collaboration with fashion website ASOS – I fell in love with her work. Vibrant art, cool designs – and always with a positive message.

With her cult following – Zakee’s clothing collections have sold globally and she has worked with many fashion brands including People Tree and Urban Outfitters.

She has had a versatile career so far having also worked as a stylist, in publishing, as an art director and interior design – amongst other avenues.

I am ever so slightly in awe and hope you enjoy Inspire Me today with Zakee Shariff !…. a-to-zHighRes

You started out with your own clothing label as well as doing your art work – How did you get into fashion design ?

I had never thought of starting a clothing label and a dear friend who is one of the owners of a mens and women’s clothing label called YMC You Must Create, convinced me to start my own label and very kindly introduced me to various contacts to enable me to make it happen. It all just kinda unfolded.

I always knew I wanted to work both as an artist and a designer. My training was in printed textiles but it was very much rooted in painting and drawing and abstracting from that into design.  So it was a great way to explore that process, and learn about the business side too. Youth_0510

You’ve worked with textiles, fine art, illustration, styling, interior and product design.. and you’ve also been an art director – has this worked out as a natural progression ?

Definitely. One led to another and another and back again, like a creative dance.

 

Is there one particular field of design that you enjoy the most ?

I enjoy all the different design projects I have been blessed with doingI love designing textiles. Peace-heart-cushion-small

 

There are very positive messages within your designs – is this something that is important to you ?

Yes it is, I hope my work can give people joy and maybe help them to think more about the world from a different perspective.

 

Your collaboration with People Tree is going really well – how did this originally come about ?

 A lovely friend if mine Vickie Snow from Snow PR introduced me, as she thought we were a match, and we all just clicked. They are lovely to work with and very inspiring in the the way they are able to create everything they do ethically correct.

Safia the owner tends to sit with me and we go through old prints of mine and we brainstorm and I then recreate the prints and make some new ones and then her team and i work together to get them right. I don’t get involved in the garment shapes and styling….its purely a focused and joyous experience of drawing, making patterns and colouring them. And  I create the prints and we work on colours together.

 

Having worked with ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Japanese store MAYZ, Roxy Heart.. to name just a few – what do you enjoy the most about collaborations ?

I have such a love of collaborating. I thrive when I work with another creative or a team of people and make a vision come alive. That is very fulfilling and inspiring to me.

 

Describe a perfect working day for you ?

Drawing, painting or screen printing listening to some great music in my studio – loud ! main_8bd11_MOVEMENTANDCHANGEOFTHEj

 

What kind of music do you listen to ?

I love listening to all different types of music when I work,  it depends on the mood I’m in.
I’d say when I’m printing however,  I like to listen to loud Hip Hop, Soul, R n B, Dancehall and reggae.. a bit of a soul girl then, eh ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                        Can you offer some inspirational advice on how to get into fashion design and textiles ? 
Be honest to your creative vision, ask questions, ask for support there are amazing beings out there that do want to help. Work hard, research and give your self permission to have fun and make mistakes. Do choose to do work experience, it’s the best way to learn. Knock on doors, as you find your path and follow your instinct. Have a clear vision of what you would like to achieve, even if its a really basic feeling and the rest is unsure, get in touch with the ultimate desire. That sets you on your way for sure. main_758bc_PEACE2j

What are you working on at the moment and when will we get to see it ? :)

daydream-freedom-bigger-2

I’ve just created a few prints for a great new kids collection called Ruff and Huddle. www.ruffandhuddle.co.uk The collaboration is for AW13. I love making prints for kids.

I’m creating a new print for my lovely friend Nick who has a beautiful womenswear brand. Studio Nicholson. www.studionicholson.com. It’s a very chic minimal collection.

I’m working on two personal projects. One is product based and the other is a group of new fine art screen prints.

The rest is pending research that I am doing.
Thanks Zakee :) Full of talent – and what a lovely person ! If you’d like to see more of her work online – go to www.zakeeshariff.com, become a fan on Facebook for updates and/or follow her on Twitter !

Please do leave me a lovely comment and share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with welovekaoru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a firm believer that a cup of tea tastes so much nicer in a cup and saucer – and perfect if it’s vintage inspired, beautiful, fine bone china. Like all of these pretty welovekaoru pieces, right before your eyes :)

Kaoru Parry established welovekaoru after graduating from Central St Martins College in London. She owns Shoreditch collective boutique  Luna and Curious “offering a cornucopia of finely rendered objects and clothing” as well as stocking her own full collection of tableware.

The ethos of welovekaoru is to preserve the traditional values of real craftsmanship and work closely with small independent family run potteries to produce their pieces exclusively in the United Kingdom.

I had a little chat with Kaoru recently….

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   What did you study at Central St Martins and would you recommend college if you want to become a designer ?

I studied BA Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. The course has great contacts with the industry and puts a lot of energy into preparing you for the real world. It also houses a great team of technicians and facilities to assist in the practical aspects of design and manufacture. Now that you have to pay so much for further education, I would make sure that the course is definitely right for you. Even look to other European countries as their fees are often lower.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs ?

Anything old inspire my designs. I like the way beautifully crafted objects were often made to an industrial scale yet each one by hand and by highly skilled artisans.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                   I first spotted your teacups in Liberty London – did it take long before you were asked to stock in lots of prestigious stores ?

I was discovered by Liberty at my first trade show in 2009. They have been stocking my designs since.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Would you say your work is influenced by Japan ….. having been born there ? 

Sometimes. The Take range ( green bamboo design ) was a direct influence from a beautiful antique kimono. But it’s probably more our company philosophy that’s been influenced most by Japan. Our values of excellent craftsmanship and quality.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                      Can you talk me through your process from your initial ideas to production ?

Lots of research and development followed by sketches and maquettes. I have great relationships with the small family run potteries in Stoke where we develop new products together. It may take years to finally get a new product into the market.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       Do you have a signature design ?

Not really but my ABC tea cups and mugs continue to be one of my best sellers.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                     Can you offer some advice for anyone reading this wanting to start a new brand ?

Work hard, do your research, understand business especially pricing, production and marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                            What are your welovekaoru’s plans for 2013 and beyond ?

I’m really excited about 2013 as I’m going to launch a new range of products that are not strictly tableware. I’m also looking forward to interesting collaborations and projects.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                         Thanks Kaoru ! Really elegant pieces, don’t you think ?..You can follow Kaoru’s store Luna and Curious on Twitter – @lunaandcurious or become a fan on Facebook.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway.. win a Janome Mega Tote Bag – it’s perfect for all of your sewing accessories !

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

Retro… and good to go….

Well, it may have taken a little while to get around to making this Retro Butterick 1953 dress – I was sent some patterns over by the lovely people at Sew Direct and this is the second pattern I have used.

 

Loving the way it has turned out :)

What I didn’t realise until I studied the the the package properly, is that you have four different ways of wearing this ( see below ) with the completed dress. You can also use a different fabric for the Upper back Bodice ( if you go for the option B ! ) so it’s incredibly versatile.

The only area that I had to work on a couple of times ( with my trusty friend, the un-picker ! ) was attaching the upper bodice piece to the midriff ones – this is because it shapes in a V, and I wanted to make it exact, obviously, and haven’t sewed this kind of shape for a month or two ! It all came good in the end :)

I went for cotton, black and pink polka dot as I had just the right amount in the cupboard and well, it just works with most vintage patterns, don’t ya think ? The bodice is lined but the skirt isn’t – You could always add a lining or this is a superb excuse to purchase or make yourself a swing petticoat :)

Which is your favourite style and what fabric would you go for ? Leave me a comment or send us a tweet… would love to hear your thoughts :)

Oh, and by the way – my Giveaway in collaboration with luxury homeware and gift online company – Amara to win a blue Pip Studio floral, vintage style cake stand worth £35.99 ends on Tuesday… so get entering, if you haven’t already…. it’s as pretty as a picture, folks :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

Feel free to use my images – just please ping a link back to me here at LucyLovesYa :)

A gorgeous Pip Studio giveaway courtesy of Amara UK – CLOSED

I’m a girl of my word. Last week I mentioned a giveaway was imminent  – and here it is !

 

www.amara.co.uk  – the online destination for luxury home brands and designer gifts have very kindly offered to sponsor giveaway, in the form of a Pip Studio porcelain floral cake stand… I think you will agree – it is a beauty… imagine this in your kitchen ! What a lovely way to present a Birthday cake or some cupcakes.. it actually would look great just as a talking point too :)

As a huge Pip Studio fan, I would love to own this.. but as I am not able to enter my own giveaway – I guess I’d better let you know the details, so that you can :)….

This vintage inspired cake stand is 30.5 cm in diamater and mixes and matches really well with all other Pip Studio pieces. Make sure you wash it by hand and not in a dishwasher to keep it in tip top condition :)

Amara have a huge selection of Pip Studio homewares along with a large range of superb luxury brands at varying prices to suit everyone – if you are looking for a gift or something for your own home… look no further. I think you will also find that their customer service is outstanding.

So, here’s what to do if you would like to enter this giveaway…

Tweet on Twitter ( there is a link button just below this post ) :

I have just entered the @lucylovesyablog giveaway to win an @AmaraUK Pip Studio floral cake stand ! www.lucylovesya.com

Please leave a comment underneath this post to let me know that you have entered, including your twitter name for confirmation –  you must also be following me on Twitter – @lucylovesyablog and of course – @AmaraUK for your entry to be valid… and that’s it – you’re entered !

T’s and C’s

Due to the prize being delicate – this  giveaway is open to UK residents only.

The winner will be picked by random on Tuesday 18th September at 5pm.

Postage and packaging will be provided by Amara.

No purchase necessary and no cash alternative offered.

Good luck ! Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

ZPM Winner and Trolly – Dolley’s first trip out :).. Oh, and an Award ! :)

Firstly, thanks to ZPM for offering up such a fab prize and of course, everyone who entered this Giveaway – lots of entries, and it’s not surprising for such a lovely item !

I have used the random number generator to pick the winner.. which is… number 21…

So, Omi has won the ZPM Songbird Weekender ! Congratulations to you and enjoy it – I will be in touch shortly.

For all of you who entered and didn’t win this time – fear not ! Lots more lovely competitions coming soon… and that’s a promise ! :)

Now, whilst I have you here in my grasp, I wanted to just show you my new lovely, rather stylish, Trolley – Dolly bag because she and I went out for our first shop together today. ‘Twas a good experience – and for once I actually felt prepared for shopping..  by doing very little !

Zoe from ZPM talked about her ‘shopping solution’ in my interview with her last week so you probably already know a fair bit about this, but I honestly, really recommend the Trolley – Dolly… from the vintage, cute style of the bag and the attachable token coin, to an interior bag that has bottle compartments in it so that you can put all your bottles all together, safely.. ! I love especially, though, the eco – friendly aspect of it, plus the bags are really strong and washable – I’m sold :)

    

I actually had three people admire the bag in just this one shop :) I am going to keep it in close proximity so that I never forget my bags again.. ever… it’s high time !

Right, I am off to work on a polka dot 50s dress – I was awarded the ‘Craftest I love your blog’ award today by Joy at BeadedBazaar ( more on this soon ), which was totally unexpected and very much appreciated – so it has spurred me on to finish this one off and post it as soon as possible… Thanks, Joy ! :)

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

INSPIRE ME – with ZPM.. and WIN a Weekender wash bag ! CLOSED

Today is ‘Inspire Me’ day, all about Zoe Phayre – Mudge, the creator and designer behind the wonderfully stylish, fun and eye catching ZPM British branded bags, amongst lots of other pieces. Made from a huge selection of cool oil print fabric prints …. and the great thing about ZPM is that you can find something to suit anyone in your life if you visit their online shop !

Having been a fan of Zoe’s ZPM brand for rather a long time now, I first spotted some gorgeously kitsch floral printed ZPM bath accessories in a shop, my eyes instantly lit up with delight – and I have to say, years on, the pieces I bought then still look as good as ever and have travelled far and wide with me !

You may well also, be aware of the Trolley – Dolly.. an innovative design, created by ZPM, where you can shop plastic bag free – with 21 bags compacted into just one outer bag – and not just eco friendly but good looking too ;)………

To add even more fun to the proceedings ( and celebrate me reaching 10,000 followers on Twitter this week ) – you are in with a chance of winning this cute as a button ‘Weekender’ bag in Songbird fabric ( below ) from the ZPM range – I can highly recommend it as I have one myself and you can fit soooo much in it !

Find out what you need to do to enter the Giveaway at the end of this interview…

Who and what inspired you to become a designer ?

Just something in you I think – growing up you are either into computers or into dogs or love fireworks or something.. I just loved making things but more than that I  loved doing “running a business” . My mum and dad ran a fruit and veg business and they gave me old stuff when they moved office once and I got 3 old phones and lots of stationery.. I loved all those paper clips and folders and I loved making things…  I basically don’t think anything has changed !!!!!!!!   The washbags happended as I found an amazing fabric that just inspired the product range but funnily enough I still have a set of washbags I made at my primary school when I was about nine. Amusingly the fabric is tiny white dots on a pale blue background and that was 1979 !!! so I think it might have been going to do this from birth !

How did ZPM come about? What were your first products ?

I was living between two houses pretending that I was not moving into my soon to be husband’s flat……and pretending to go home each day to the flat I shared with my brother. I was not enjoying working for the company I was with at the time… felt like  change and new beginnings. I started to develop an idea for a bag that would “sort your life” and solve a problem… I messed about with lots of things – loads of false starts… one factory gave me the best bit of advice ever which was on presenting my idea he said ” I can’t make that for what you want to sell it for!”  It’s been crucial and is crucial that you know what you are trying to do and if the market can take it !

Do you spend a lot of time developing each of your ideas and designs ?

With ZPM we act more like a fashion house that does not design all of its own prints… we buy in a lot but picking the right one is key. I spent ages initially on our shapes but I have alot which I designed a long time ago now. When you get something right people actually like to come back to the same thing – it works and they have stood the test of time  – The Weekender bag has been ripped off endlessly since its first inception, but people still come back to ours as its British made and lasts and the copies generally miss something !

How do you choose your fabrics ?

Instinct. and the buzz as I call it.. sometimes when I look at a print you just “know” its going to work. I have to be wary of being in a “sweetshop” sometimes and getting carried away… I am not great at this as you can see on our site… we have over 50 different prints at any one time !

Your products are really well made, is this something that is important to you ?

It’s crucial. I would be a lot richer if they were not.!!! but we have been making all the washbag range in the UK since we started in 1994 and someone turned up with one the other day over 15 years old.  We even mend where we can ! The prints are so lovely and around for such a short time that sometimes people just don’t want to let go of a bag. Especially if it has some real significance in your life, maybe it was the bag you went round the world with your boyfriend with or your honeymoon bag or the 40th Birthday present from your best friend… that sort of stuff makes an object something other than just an object… and if it falls apart instantly there is no benefit to anyone.

    

Is it fair to say you seem very hands on with your company ? 

Probably too hands on at the moment. We have shrunk a bit in size since we moved to Dorset. My stepdad has alzheimers, so my mum who had been working with me and my biggest help for 11 years needed to retire, I have 3 kids and they needed a new school and the whole thing worked as a move.  Since then I have been a lot more hands on.  I think growing a business is letting go of the minutiae of control and letting the people around you take things on. Its not always going to be done “your way” but it also may not be the wrong way.

    

What is the recipe to running a successful business ?

My favourite expression that our manchester factory owner gave me when I first started working with him was

“Turnover is Vanity, Profit is Sanity, Cashflow is Reality”

Success means a lot of different things to different people… there are the big bucks boys – its all about the money money…. I think they are only half right.

The money is crucial.. you don’t do it for fun, if you had a private income you would surely be in a job that was more charity orientated ?!  but the success can come in different packages !

I have a couple of Trolley-Dolly testimonials that I keep on my desk – I have a note which says “read daily” stuck on them… If your thing is to set out to make something that solves a problem and makes people happy to boot and they buy one and come back to you and say “wow, that really did all of that for me and I love it !” then that’s a successful business.

Describe a day in the life at work for you….

It’s a bit of a mixed bag every day. Almost impossible to do a typical one.. but I thought you might like today…Sorting of my gang of small people ie the 3 kids takes up a bit of time first thing most days….. then I am in the office by about 8.35 am, my commute is 30 seconds to a barn in a field and I am accompanied often by Cedric the cat !

Emails, sorting any post or urgent issues.

Today I had a long skype call to one of the factories we use to make Trolley-Dolly. I had some new sampling in to check through.  Meanwhile I have had a load of Microscooter products to sort out. I design for a number of other people, basically I like to design things and if a company wants a bag that fits on a scooter then so be it. We have had a really positive relationship with this firm.. they make THE best scooters for kids and adults…and we make a lot of their accessories for them. I design the prints for these and the product – it’s a top to toe design service we offer and I have to say I love it !  Sometimes working to a brief however loose can be really invigorating for a company, gives new perspective and indirectly allows you to reach another audience.

What have been the biggest milestones for ZPM ?

Oh supplying people like harvey nichols and Liberty… Day 1 of my first ever trade show my mum and I were sititng in the dark as I didn’t realise you needed lights at these things and Liberty buyer walked on and ordered it. I took the order to the shop in a cab myself !

Standing next to someone actually buying a bag once was a big moment.. when you box it  up and send things to stores you don’t get that personal reaction. Its why I love the web and now facebook for testimonials and thoughts people have. The buyers know there store and the look they want… but there are less of them than the public and all their thoughts… you get so much more through that about what people want…

Having someone you are sitting next to at a wedding go.. so what do you do…. and you go “Oh I have this little bag company… which they have never heard of… and then they go off to the loo and come back and go…..oh oh god you are those great printed bags !!!!” those are nice milestones !

Getting your first staff to help…

    

What is your current best selling product ?

 We have three so I can’t pick between them…

The flower shower caps.. are mad, gorgeous and really work so they tick a lot of zpm boxes….

The weekenders. These just really do the job, and they come in so many lovely prints and they will last and last……

The Trolley-dolly.. newest in but wow is she movin !!! How to do green in a stylish way….. and this bag works and works and works ! its no wonder she is in the top three.

    

Tell me about your Trolley – Dolly – I love the look of it ! What inspired this ?

Ooooh I love this …   I could wax on for a while about this but a video might be simpler – list attached for you to choose from !!!!

Basically I was unpacking one night and that inspirational woman who made Modbury ‘Go Bag Free’ had been in the news… I was chucking all the placky bags on the floor as I unpacked. When I turned around there was a huge pile.  I looked at them and thought , I make bags for god’s sake I must be able to do something that solves this.  Other people were doing single bags and I just thought  – how am I going to get my shopping home with some logo’d jute number ? .  It took a year to get to the right size and the right number of bags for a realistic family sized shop. I have 3 kids and an au pair so it’s a fairly large shop each week.   I wanted something compact, washable, that looked nice and on a really efficient day I could take by itself rather than taking the bags and a handbag….. In terms of “look” I have tried to achieve  a wink to the 50s housewife style handbag  in shape and some wearable patterns that are either fun or something you would not be embarrassed to be seen with !!!.  We tend to go for spots and things which you will notice sitting in the kitchen…. and remember to take with you……….the shopping list window is the BEST part, you cannot go without  the list… keep your list in the front and between that and the token we provide with each bag it should help you remember the bags 9/10 times !

    

Can you offer a few words of advice for someone starting a new venture ?

PERSEVERE !!! PERSEVERE ! PERSEVERE……… Oh did I mention you really have to stick at it and keep at it day in, day out…

I have a fridge magnet saying by Winston Churchill which says never, never, never, never give up !

What’s in the pipeline for ZPM ?

More telly ! We sell via QVC and we are heading overseas with this.. Australia next month and then Germany.  I love doing it, we sell out in minutes but it’s great being able to talk to lots of people at the same time !  Loads more new styles of Trolley-Dolly will be on our site from September – there is even a Cheetah one coming !

Lovely new range of prints for This Winter. A new bag that solves travelling, camping and sorting your baby…… Something for festivals next year….

    

Big thanks and thumbs up to Zoe ! A very clever woman and lovely with it :). I literally can’t wait for the Cheetah print Trolley – Dolly ! 

Sign up to the ZPM newsletter to hear about competitions and new goodies. You can also find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter – go on.. you won’t regret it :)

Now, all you have to do to enter this Super Giveaway to win the ZPM Songbird Weekender in white worth £36, is Tweet this post ( button below ) stating:

I have just entered the @lucylovesyablog Giveaway to win a @TROLLEYDOLLYZPM weekender wash bag !

Please, also leave me a comment below this post to let me know that you have done this ( don’t want to miss any entries ! ) – and so that a winner can be picked by randow draw on Tuesday 2nd September at 7pm.

T’s and C’s:

This Giveaway is open to entrants internationally.

The winner will be picked by random draw and announced on Tuesday 4th September 2012 at 7pm.

No purchase necessary.

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx

All images copyright ZPM 2012.

INSPIRE ME – with Irregular Choice

I think I ‘may’ have *cough* mentioned before… once or twice ;) that I am a HUGE Irregular Choice fan. As in, not able to pass a shoe store without popping in and checking out their latest designs… trying on…… and then purchasing them…. :)

For a while now, I have wondered about the innovative creator and designer behind this now world renowned label – Dan Sullivan.. how he puts his lines together each season and what makes him tick. Not only do Irregular Choice design mouth watering footwear ( that I have recently also seen cool brides adourning ), clothing, bags and accessories – they even now make very pleasing on the eye homeware !

So, my friends.. today is a really special day. It’s ‘Inspire Me’ .. all about Dan, his design inspirations for Irregular Choice and his directional, extremely exclusive new collection – Dan Sullivan . A collection for “die hard fans” – and I can assure you, he has not held back – they really are incredible as you are about to see…

    

Dan, how did you get into shoe design ? Had it always been your plan ?

My parents had a line of shoe stores called Transit in the UK during the 70’s punk Camden London era, so from an early age I grew up around footwear, design and how to retail that to the consumer. I then learned about production by traveling to the factories jn the far east. I didn’t go to fashion or design school.

  

What I love about Irregular Choice, is that your shoes, clothing and accessories are totally unique – where do you get your inspiration ?

Thank you, that’s definitely our brand ethos. Everything I’ve done has been self- taught and influenced by travels- experiencing a huge variety in world cultures, people, fashions and food. I have to say Japan is probably my most influential place.

          

Do you have a strong vision of each piece before you start the designing process, or does it evolve as you work?.. and do you name the shoe style before or after ? :)

I have a clear vision of the direction I want to take, design wise, in order to push the boundaries from the collection before. I then use a huge library of colors, textures, trims and fabrics to make that happen. I make sure that each collection has meaning and is well- rounded, so although the shoes are very different and strong , there really is a shoe for everybody. The naming of the shoe comes afterward, once we see how the shoe has turned out in person as opposed to drawing.

        

You have a huge fan base, worldwide – is this something that happened very quickly ?

I’m very thankful to the Irregular Choice fans, the fan base has evolved greatly over the past 12 years which is great. I think that the opening of the London England store in 2009 really saw the brand catapult here in the UK as it was a place for fans to come and really understand what we are about as a whole lifestyle.

           

As well as stocking internationally, you have your own Irregular Choice stores in Brighton, London, Hong Kong, Virginia in the USA and currently a ‘pop up’ shop in Paris, Does this mean you spend alot of time travelling and how do you combine it with the designing side of things ?

Yes, our retail has expanded which is really where I want to see the growth of the brand in the future. It means I can present Irregular Choice in an environment so unique and memorable that people keep coming back. Although I do travel a lot, particularly to the Far East and to the factories to check on production and sampling, I set aside specific time to design the season’s collection. I plan it into my schedule and close the door from outside distractions. Thats the only way I can really get the point of the brand across in design and keep each collection consistently unique.

          

Do you get time to switch off? What is an ideal day of chilling for you ?  

Sometimes ! Spending time at home with my family is the best day.

   

Recently, you launched an exclusive collection under your own name – Dan Sullivan. Will you be doing this every season and what can we expect ?

I went back to the roots of what makes IC unique and desirable and timesed it by 1000. The Dan Sullivan Collection is really a thank you to the fans, and I havn’t held back in creating one- of a kind shoes. These I think are some of my favorite designs as it’s truly different. I also wanted to keep them unique by making only a dozen or so of each style, so each customer really feels special. At the moment they are available on www.dansullivan.eu and each month I will be launching new styles between now and Feb 2013.

           trendy shoes irregular choice japan

For anyone reading this interview who wants a career in design, what advice would you offer them ?

I never went to design school, so I can’t say that works for everybody. But I would say to emerse yourself in whatever inspires you and whatever motivates you to design and makes you happy.

        

A large cap doffing thanks to Irregular Choice and of course, Dan himself.
You can keep up date with Irregular Choice on Twitter, Facebook and also on their website and blog www.irregularchoice.com

 

Please share the love by clicking on the links below  xx

All images copyright of Irregular Choice 2012.